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Gardening Trends Growers Need to Watch

It's 'Grandma's garden no more' says this Vermont expert.

Here's a short list of key trends that growers of landscaping and gardening products need to be on top of. It comes from Leonard Perry, Extension horticulturist at University of Vermont.

Today's gardening trends are much closer to landscape decor than actual gardening, he reports. For many, it's no longer about planting, watering and pruning. That's too much, "even if there is time for such activities," he contends.

The new "luxury consumer" has and wants nice things. This consumer often skimps on one thing so they can splurge on another. Then there is "hiving"—using the home as the business center of a busy life, complete with media, internet, fitness and the like. This is the outgrowth of the former "cocooning" and "nesting."

Key gardening trends

Blurring of lines. It 's no longer clear what is annual or perennial. Tropicals are planted as annuals, as are some woody plants.

Tall is big. From pots to plants, tall is more popular now than ever. Ornamental grasses are a perfect fit for the tropical look.

Tropical look. Plants that look tropical with exotic foliage or flowers have been around a few years, and are still popular. Cannas, alocasias, and hibiscus are good examples.

Big and bold. Perhaps an outgrowth of tropical, this is now seen in bright colors, bold color combinations, and big foliage such as with some of the new coleus.

Foliage is in. Perhaps another outgrowth of tropical, plants just for foliage are popular. There are almost too many coralbells to choose from, most the new ones grown for leaves rather than the flowers of older cultivars. Coleus and hosta are popular, as are foliage colors such as yellows and black.

Perennials. Not as popular as a decade ago, they still are favored by many but more now with annuals, as container plants, for low maintenance or for specific uses.

Native plants. These are an offshoot growth area of perennials. A trend within these is choosing ones native to specific areas, or habitats. This trend reflects the desire to balance technology with nature, to seek calm, to find sustainability.

Organics. This trend took off with foods, and is spilling into the landscape and gardening choices as well.

Hardscaping. This is the term for decks, walks, raised beds, patios, stone bed edges and the like. You don't have to look far in most neighborhoods to see such examples.

Bringing the indoors out. This is related to the decorating and hiving already mentioned. More each year are turning the outside into living, even work, spaces.

Indoor decorating. Plants are being used indoors not because they are plants, but for their design element, to add color, texture and accent to the surroundings.

Nostalgia. Old-fashioned and heirloom flowers and vegetables evoke memories of (and a desire for?) simpler times in an increasingly complex world. For others, such "retro gardening" evokes a hope and optimism of the past.

'Hot colors' for 2007? The Color Marketing Group suggests that warmer, brighter colors are coming into favor. Their choices for popular colors now are reds, including a raspberry hue, and blues, including bluish green (think relaxation, as from spas and oceans

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